Pete Carroll's tenure in New England ended Monday as team owner Robert Kraft announced that the head coach was let go after three years with the Patriots.
After addressing players and coaches at a team meeting, Kraft spoke to the media shortly after 10 a.m. to make the expected move official.
"I want you to hear directly from me after I spoke to the team to tell you that Pete Carroll would no longer continue as head coach of the New England Patriots,"
Carroll was the second NFL coach to be fired following the regular season, as Green Bay's Ray Rhodes was terminated on Sunday. The New York Jets will also have a new coach, as Bill Parcells stepped down after three seasons.
Carroll leaves the Patriots with the highest regular season winning percentage of any coach in team history with his record of 27-21. However, his teams went 1-2 in the playoffs, and this season a 2-6 record in the final eight games left New England out of the postseason.
"I must say up front that he's someone I have great respect for," Kraft said. "I think he came into a difficult situation, but this is a business of accountability. Two years ago we won the division, last year we barely made the playoffs and this year we're 8-8 with a fifth-place schedule. We need a momentum change."
Carroll made a brief statement to the media before leaving Foxboro Stadium early Monday afternoon. His demeanor was upbeat as he seemed ready to move on with his life.
"I'm proud of being 27-21 and making the playoffs the first two years I was here," Carroll said. "I'll forever be disappointed that we didn't win more."
Though Carroll was fired because of disappointing results, several players said it wasn't right to put all the blame on the coach.
"He's our captain and our leader. He's taken the brunt of the blame, but I think you have to blame everybody," said sixth-year linebacker Marty Moore. "You have to blame the players and the coaches. When you lose, you can't just blame one person."
Fullback Chris Floyd said there was mixed feelings about the move.
"I had a good relationship with Pete, and I like Pete. Then again, things happen," Floyd said. "Just like players may not be here, coaches may not be here either. Mr. Kraft made a decision, and we have to go with that. I think Pete did a good job with me personally to get me motivated to play every week."
Kraft said the firing of Carroll was just the first of several changes that will be made. He said Carroll was not the only person responsible for the disappointing results for the Patriots, and the owner needed to inspect all aspects of the football operations with the team.
"Is it solely Pete Carroll's fault? No," Kraft said. "I think we have to reassess the whole organization. We have to look at whatever we can do to put ourselves in the best position to get into the playoffs and compete for a championship."